Oil rig gets government support but plans are delayed until after Christmas

PLANS to put an oil rig in Poole Bay have won government approval, although drilling has been delayed.

According to a statement by United Oil & Gas, which owns a 10 per cent interest in the proposed Colter well, drilling now only requires permission from the Oil and Gas Authority, after the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) gave it the nod.

However the firm said well site operator Corallian now plans to drill only after it has completed work on a separate site at Wick in the North Sea.

United CEO Brian Larkin said: “With (BEIS department) OPRED advising the OGA of its in-principle agreement to the issue of the relevant consents, a drilling unit secured and the rig site survey completed, the Colter appraisal well remains on course.”

The firm said Corallian “intends to drill the Colter well as soon as operations are completed at its Wick prospect”.

According to the operator, it plans to start drilling Wick next month, with the rig expected to be on site for up to 30 days.

Corallian’s plans for temporary appraisal well to assess the oil available at Colter, a few miles off the coast of Bournemouth, were originally scheduled for the summer and have now been delayed twice as regulators have scrutinised its environmental mitigation proposals.

Residents groups, environmentalists, politicians and celebrities have protested against the scheme.

Last week Stuart Lane of Fossil Free Dorset, Sara Goldsmith Pascoe of Save Our Shores and Neil Garrick-Maidment of FBNA The Seahorse Trust sent a letter to the government raising new objections.

It claims that “while BEIS assessed that ‘the drilling operations are also planned to minimise the risk of any hydrocarbon or chemical pollution’, we feel this significantly misrepresents the truth”.

“Given the legal protection afforded to seahorses, these are very serious allegations and we trust that no drilling can legally occur until the facts can be clarified.

“Given the sensitivity of this location including economic dependence on beach-related tourism, and the nearby Jurassic Coast (England’s only natural World heritage Site), it is only reasonable that all possible measures would be undertaken to mitigate risk of disaster, in the event of any drilling.”

Source Link www.bournemouthecho.co.uk

By Will Frampton  Twitter @WFrampton_Echo


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